When the shoe hits the ground

April 28, 2009

When your foot hits the ground, the impact is felt all the way up the kinetic chain. We have learned through previous blog entries that excessive or inefficient movement can cause many running related ailments. We can stretch and we can strengthen to create optimal movement but we can’t forget about your shoes. The right shoe will lead to many happy miles; the wrong shoe will lead to blisters, foot pain, knee pain, hip and low back pain.

I spoke with Mark Glendenning, Physical Therapist at Bellin Health Sports Medicine and member of the Bellin Running Team to give us some tips on purchasing the right pair of shoes; here is what he had to share:

“When purchasing running shoes every runner should consider several factors to make sure that they are successful in finding the shoes that are right for them. Every runner and every shoe is different and the challenge is to match the features of each brand and model of shoe with the individual needs of each runner.


The first step is to determine the type of foot you have and to match the shoe characteristics with the foot type.

A pronated foot is too flexible presenting with a decreased arch height and would benefit from a shoe with motion control features. These features include a firm heel counter, dual density or firm midsole, and a firm post located at the inside of the midsole usually made of plastic.

A supinated foot is too ridgid presenting with a higher arch and would benefit from a shoe with greater cushioning features in the midsole.

A normal foot would benefit from mild cushioning and mild control features.

Because of the complexity of matching individual foot mechanics, to the right shoe, it is recommended that you seek the advice of a shoe professional at a specialty shoe store that you trust or the advice of a medical professional that treats running disorders.”

Here are some tips to assist you in your search for the perfect shoes:

  1. Shop for shoes later in the day when your feet are more swollen. This will mimic the swelling you will experience when you run.
  2. Wear the socks you will wear when you run.
  3. Have your feet measured. It is not uncommon to have one foot longer than the other. Allow for 1 thumb width space between the end of the shoe and the longest toe on the largest foot.
  4. If you wear orthotics take the insoles out of the shoes, and fit the shoes with the orthotics in.
  5. The heel counter should be snug without slipping of the heel. (Motion means blisters!!)
  6. Try on several shoes of the type that matches your foot type to see what shoe feels best. Function over fashion.
  7. Ask about the return policy. A good shoe store will allow you to run indoors on a treadmill to test out the shoe and return them if they don’t feel right.

Follow this link to a recent interview on Good Day Wisconsin. http://www.fox11online.com/

If you would like more information on how to determine what may be the right shoe for you, or you would like to contact a member of the Bellin Running Team, feel free to call me at 920-430-4734.


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